Humans have lots of time to explore and grow, but for so many other living things, it’s life in the fast lane. Nature kids understand that life travels through stages and where there is an end, there is also a beginning. Some creatures live for less than one day, others for over 100 years. Our sunny friend dandelion offers the full life cycle view on one small patch of land. Ask for a walk through each phase they collected for this timeline of dent de lion. Which is the sun, moon and stars? What other amazing things do you know about this plant? It's an art piece, wishing ball, sweet stop for pollinators, nutritious and tasty snack. Maybe dandelions true value is being revealed!!
Let’s think about partnerships and new connections. Who did you walk, play and work on tasks with today. This group was humming with positive vibes all day!
Water critters was another theme for us today. After listening to a book about The Life Cycle of the Crayfish by Bobby Kalman we were ready to look up close at the real thing. See if you can gather some descriptive details; body features, covering, diet, behaviour (walk forward, swim backward). Which animal in this group is not aquatic?
The hunt in shallow areas near the Mill started out slowly. Interest waned and suddenly Larch and Raccoon whooped that they had netted a big one. Apparently it was all in the strategy - keep your net downstream, be patient, slowly lift each rock. This all came from careful watching, repetition, and sharing of skills. The whole group erupted with success, and many crayfish were caught. What did we notice that was unusual about some of them?
Sketching is a great tool for heightening observation and helping children think about proportion. We often ask them to add habitat features and other living things that may be present. Sketching builds confidence as you just erase, and this multi-age group offers wonderful models and new ideas.
It was a perfect day to have lunch or snack with a friend, shade or sun. Interesting foods was the topic for the group within my earshot, but outdoor picnics tend to get the chatter flowing and eating slows its pace. We know slow food is more nutritious, but did you know that slow learning is more impactful. In quiet moments learning is still happening.
You may find a froggie bookmark in backpacks, some with ‘hoppy’ sayings. Mrs Eastman had this cool craft along with a really interesting story about the journey of a water droplet. Ask your child about the cycle of water, and where the water we drink may have traveled. Her second book choice got us croaking like a cacophony of frogs. See if your child recalls some of the species of frogs in this story. We missed handing out an activity booklet linked to water animals, but will next week. Thank you so much Grey Squirrel!
Up in the hall we followed a step-by-step demonstration to make our water animals booklet. These small pages are just right for little hands or to pull out along the trail. We will use this skill again for our next topic about ‘metamorphosis’. Check nature journal pockets for this.
Our hike to Mystery Forest was hoppy as well! The kids were excited to wander, visit tree friends, sing some tunes and listen to a story under the trees. Our closing activity asked a reflection question to take to a sit spot. What amazed you about nature today? The practice of sitting still and watching the world around us allows space for busy brains to rest and process. It’s interesting what came out as we shared afterwards; everything changes so fast, so much green, sounds of wind in the trees, surprise at the motion of tall plants like garlic mustard, and happiness with new friendships today.
So for us human animals it is life in the slow lane. Setting a relaxing pace teaches Tamarack and myself the importance of giving these kids time and space to problem solve, advocate, and exercise self determination. They are mapping their world in a beautiful way!
Hoppy Long Weekend Forest Friends!